The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Burns

    4
  • Robbed

    5
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Groped

    9
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Malaria

    5
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Giardia

    8
  • Beaten

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Falls

    12
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Robbed

    13
  • Groped

    2
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Temporary Blindness

    2